I know a lot of people have a LinkedIn accounts, but they don’t necessarily utilize it to its fullest potential. So I’m starting this series I’m calling Locked-in with LinkedIn. Here’s some of my favorite ways to use LinkedIn to grow and groom my my personal business ventures and make awesome connections along the way. This series should offer something for everyone from beginners to LinkedIn power users. Drop me a line @bryantburciaga
To kick off this series I’m starting off by sharing some of my favorite tools that LinkedIn offers.
These tools aren’t necessarily secret functions, but I never see or hear anyone ever talking about them or how they can be used. They are extremely powerful tools and have been one of the ways I’ve been able to connect with world class CEO’s, presidents, entrepreneurs, and high profile experts and leaders.
First, I want to talk about harnessing your professional network. Let me give an example, have you ever been in a situation where you would like to see everyone in your network within a particular field and compare and contrast individuals? Or have you ever wanted to reach out to someone you’ve connected with on LinkedIn, but wanted reach out to them through a different medium other than LinkedIn, such as email or a phone call but don’t have that information?
Well it’s time that you get familiar with Data Export.
Located in the My Network Tab > See All under your connections on the left hand pane >Manage Synced and Imported Contacts on the right hand pane at the top before the header >Export Contacts under the Advanced Actions section on the right hand side pane on the bottom > Download
This tool gives you a data dump of not only your own profile, but all of your contacts. While
LinkedIn has a very powerful filtering and search tool within the site, sometimes I find it easier to just open up this .csv file in Excel and find useful information like e-mails for some of these folks, phone numbers they’ve connected to their accounts, and their titles, etc. If you have access to visualization tools like Tableau you can also create cool graphical visualizations from this data.
So I think this feature alone can help facilitate finding someone within your network, reaching out to them, and keeping in touch, since this also spits out the date you first connected with everyone on your network.
Just recently I wanted to see who I had in my network that worked in apparel/clothing. I searched for those keywords and found a few people. I wanted to reach out to them directly without waiting around for an e-mail so I gave them a call based on the phone that they connected to their account. This information is typically not publicly displayed, but having their phone can be helpful. I gave that person a call and reminded them where we met and how we had connected. Next thing you know I was scheduling a time to meet up with them and we ended up sitting down and chatting for an hour. This is just one example.
Groups and Group connections
One of the most powerful things about LinkedIn is that it can be quite straightforward to be a part of a group of people who have similar interest.
Some other sites like FB also have groups, and while they can be professionally oriented, having them hosted on a professionally leaning site like LinkedIn can really focus people to be more buttoned up. What I like about groups in LinkedIn is how much visibility they give the group owner.
That is to say, a lot of other articles will talk about how LinkedIn groups are great because they allow you to connect with people outside of your network. Elusive CEO’s, presidents, and the like. If you join a group with similar interests as a powerful figure you wish to connect with, it’s easier to reach out and mention the group as a common interest.
However, if you start looking at a lot of those articles several of them are missing the bigger picture. By HOSTING and being an administrator for one of those popular groups, you give yourself more credibility than if you just joined one. It can act as a powerful prospect tool to gauge interest in a particular niche business, product, or concept. It can work as a great e-mail/contact landing page of sorts, and smart sales people definitely take advantage of this.
I will note, however, that if you do decide to start your own group you should absolutely fill it with valuable content and promote others to do the same. If all you do is self-promotion, even if people stick around it can be a detrimental thing for your reputation online. So I would highly recommend that you utilize this tool with the best intentions and don’t just self-promote. Really try to build a positive community up, that’s when groups really thrive.
That’s my personal choice, and I miss out on a lot of individuals who would definitely increase activity on the channel, but I think it’s the right choice since a lot of those “entrepreneurs” love to SPAM with their product offerings and due to the nature of their business try to recruit others at all times. It gets annoying.
I personally started The Millennial Entrepreneur Network group on LinkedIn and that has been doing relatively well. One thing I would like to note is that I don’t allow any spam to occur on my group and anyone caught spamming is blocked. Furthermore, anyone who wants to join has to request access. I don’t give access to network marketers/MLM’s/Pyramid scheme companies. That’s my personal choice, and I miss out on a lot of individuals who would definitely increase activity on the channel, but I think it’s the right choice since a lot of those “entrepreneurs” love to SPAM with their product offerings and due to the nature of their business try to recruit others at all times. It gets annoying.
I always look people up on LinkedIn and besides their profile stuff; I will always look at their recent activity and their personal info sections. This is important because it shows me what they are reading or publishing, what they are thinking about, and shows links to their websites or other social media sites. This can provide a TON of insight into who they are, what their goals are, and what their current interests are.
While LinkedIn is mostly recognized for its online-resume beginnings, I think people have to realize this is a living, breathing social profile. People may have a particular background and their resume may tell a certain story but that doesn’t mean they are forever stuck in that field. They may be pursuing a COMPLETELY different project for the next 6–8 months, and you can help! It’s a breadcrumb trail that leads to the meal they are CURRENTLY enjoying.
Take my profile at the time of this writing; I think it demonstrates my interest in technology, business, finance, startups, and social causes.
However, if you look at my recent activity and my personal info section, you’ll see that I’m particularly interested in connecting with people making apparel/clothing and restaurateurs/food entrepreneurs. The same goes for other individuals you may want to get 20 minutes with. Do your homework and you may just get it if you fill out the right answers.
Hope this was helpful. Stay tuned for more resources, stories, and examples of leveraging the power of LinkedIn.
Have something to add? Drop me a line @bryantburciaga